Versatility in a pitcher can be a great asset for any team. In 2012, the Lansing Lugnuts’ were blessed to have that and more in right-handed pitcher, Blake McFarland. McFarland was signed by the Blue Jays in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of San Jose State University in California. He has since showed why the Blue Jays signed him, displaying his adaptability on the mound, having most recently pitched as both a starter and a reliever for the Lugnuts’ this past season. Speaking of the opportunities he was presented with upon being signed, the California native said: “I was very excited to be signed by the Blue Jays. I wanted an opportunity after college baseball to get my career going and Toronto gave me that. I was very excited for the opportunity.”
He further added: “Right now with the Blue Jays, I’m comfortable starting or coming out of the bullpen. Whatever the coaches need and the team needs I’ll do it.”
Blake got his first taste of baseball in Canada joining the Vancouver Canadians’ in 2011. In Vancouver, McFarland was 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 23 walks in 64 1/3 innings of work. “Vancouver is awesome,” “the 24-year-old said. “I’d say the Canadians’ are probably the best short season team you could possibly play for. There is an awesome atmosphere, a great bunch of guys, and on top of that, we won a championship!”
“Winning the Northwest League Championship was really cool,” he added, “A bunch of fans came out to support us. We came from behind to win it which made it even better.”
In 2012, McFarland joined the Lansing Lugnuts’ after spring training and spent his entire season in Michigan’s capital. He finished the season with a 5-6 record and a 5.68 ERA to go with 73 strikeouts and 27 walks in 90 1/3 innings of work, “My season in Lansing was a bit of a roller coaster from month-to-month as it would go up-and-down. But overall I feel good about my season and I look forward to working on my game even further in the months to come!”
He also discussed his pitch repertoire: “I presently use four pitches. A two-seam fastball, which is my go-to-pitch, a curveball, a slider, and a change-up. My fastball ranges from 89 to 92 mph.”
Speaking about the season his right-handed pitcher had, Lansing Lugnuts’ pitching coach Vince Horsman indicated that despite having many highs and lows on the season, McFarland continues to progress as a pitcher. “Blake has had some ups-and-downs throughout the year, but Blake takes the ball and does whatever you ask him to do,” Horsman said. “Blake has the ability to play a little bit if needed or go five innings if the starter gets knocked out earlier. For that reason, Blake [has] become a major contributor to our bullpen and our team.”
Expect more success for Blake McFarland in 2013.